Lee Rowley has taken on the role of the second time. Credit: Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, via CC BY 3.0, bit.ly/43GCfAZ

Rowley returns as housing minister

Lee Rowley has been reappointed to the role a year after a fleeting stint during Liz Truss’s short-lived tenure as Prime Minister, replacing Rachel Maclean. 

This week’s Cabinet reshuffle has also seen Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham – one of the seats set to disappear due to boundary changes – made chairman of the Conservative Party.

Rowley becomes the sixteenth housing minister since the Conservatives came into power in 2010 and the ninth since the 2019 general election. 

With Britain due to go to the polls next year and many experts predicting a Labour majority, he could be the party’s last for some time. 

Making way for Rowley is Rachel Maclean who revealed on social media on Monday that she had been “asked to step down” from as housing minister. Maclean was appointed to the role in February, replacing Lucy Frazer, who had taken over from Rowley.

Victoria Hills, chief executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute, praised the outgoing Maclean who was a “keen supporter of the planning profession”.

“Her departure leaves behind important work, which the returning housing minister will need to progress with quickly to implement the government’s planning reform,” Hills said.

“We are committed to ensuring that the planning system receives the recognition and resources it needs to create and shape communities that citizens can take pride in. As we welcome Lee Rowley back, I urge him to take forward Rachel’s hard work to continue building a stronger planning system for the future.”

Rowley’s reappointment as housing minister comes as part of a wider cabinet reshuffle that has seen Suella Braverman sacked as home secretary and David Cameron make a shock return to frontline politics as foreign secretary. 

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